What makes a rye sour function?
Many rye breads include a rye sour (a single or multi-stage preferment of rye flour inoculated with a sourdough starter). Along with that, you will regularly read that rye breads benefit from the sour and the acidity it brings to the dough. However, "acidity" is a loosely used term.
For rye breads and when someone states the bread benefits from acidity, is the benefit from the flavors imparted by LABs when they produce lactic and acetic acid, or is the benefit more in the dough properties as a function of pH? You will often read that the flavor profile of a rye bread changes in the first 24-48 hours. What's driving that change? The presence of LAB's during fermentation, the pH of the dough during fermentation, or ????
What's driving my question is when I want to make a 100% rye bread...
- I have a rye starter. It is rarely used and horribly neglected.
- I have a white flour starter that is refreshed regularly. I know I can take it and do a few refreshes with 100% rye and functionally make a rye starter.
- I also have a blueberry yeast water that is regularly refreshed and active.
- If the benefits are driven by LAB's, that would suggest a sourdough starter is required. However, if the benefits are pH driven, my yeast water naturally has a pH below 4.0. I haven't tested it yet, but I'm guessing a rye sour inoculated with yeast water and allowed to ferment for 12-24 hours would get a pH in the 4.0 - 4.5 range. The initial pH would be low from the yeast water and then the subsequent drop would come from the activity of microorganisms present in the rye flour. I think the final pH values would be similar to a rye sour inoculated with starter but the yeast/LAB profile would likely be quite different.
Long story short... Can I let my rye starter go out to pasture, skip all the refreshes it takes to convert a white starter to a rye starter, and just use my yeast water as 100% of the hydration for a rye sour?